Kengo Kuma & Associates completes new training centre in Nagano
Kengo Kuma & Associates wanted to create a building standing solely with a roof, not a box enclosed with wall. Given that the training centre aims to learn about nature and outdoor activities in this rich natural environment, the architects thought that a typically Japanese, semi-outdoor space under a deep eave would perfectly serve the purpose. In such set-up, studying indoors and activities outdoors in the forest could be connected seamlessly.
To make full use of the natural field where the training takes place, the architects deliberately did not flatten the land for the construction. They made the bedrooms, lecture hall, lounge, dining room and bath floor as the undulations of the ground went, and linked them with slopes. Then they completed the building with a gable roof in a 45-degree angle, which quickly draws off falling snow, rain and leaves.
The roof even reaches the ground in some places to function as exterior wall, evoking the image of primitive architecture. The face of the roof is made of galvanised plate in three colours, which are close to the tone of its surroundings, and has vertical seams of 250mm high and pitched in 500mm. Together with the deep and delicate shadow, the seams help the building merge into its environs. Likewise, you could continue the experience of the forest even inside, since lots of natural wood is used abundantly in and around the building.
As a measure to respond to environmental issues, the deep eave shades direct sunlight from the south and reduce the load of air-conditioning in summer. The opening to the north provides a broad vista and takes in gentle light from the north, bright enough for daytime. In summer, it also invites natural air that can reduce the operation of air-conditioning. Lighting apparatus is all fluorescent and LED. Water in the pool comes from rain on the roof, gathered in the pit.